Member for Bundaberg David Batt and Burnett Bowls Club's Kellie Kemp discussing daily changes in Queensland's COVID Road to Recovery plan.
Member for Bundaberg David Batt and Burnett Bowls Club's Kellie Kemp discussing daily changes in Queensland's COVID Road to Recovery plan.

Guideline changes frustrate MP, limit club’s opening

FLUCTUATING guidelines, interpretation issues and a one-size-fits-all approach to COVID-19 venue re-openings has left a local MP frustrated and a bowls club unable to open.

Bundaberg MP David Batt and Burnett Bowls Club's Kellie Kemp aired their views about the state government's measures out the front of the club this morning.

Ms Kemp said there needed to be a clear and simple directions for all businesses wanting to get up and running again.

"The thing is they gave us the message, but then they changed their minds and reissued the advice," she said.

With no logs kept on when the Road map to Recovery was updated or what changes were made, Ms Kemp said it was difficult to know whether the club was breaking restrictions with each iteration.

"You don't know what the revisions are. Unless you have read word-for-word the road map they've given us, we don't know what those revisions are," she said.

 

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Ms Kemp said the limit of 10 people meant it wasn't viable to open the venue as per normal, and constant changes to the issued advice meant plans for any booked in sessions were always fluctuating.

"It's been really hard. We were first advised that we could have 10 people per green, so that was excellent," she said.

"We were getting excited for the fact that we could have 30 people at our venue as we have three greens.

"And then Tuesday morning we had out sessions of Roll Ups which we had booked in, I ended up having about 12 people for that session.

"Then later that afternoon we received notification from Bowls Queensland that the chief health officer had changed the view and we could only now have 10 people per venue."

The changes in health advice impacting sports clubs was something that bothered Mr Batt and prompted him to raise the issue with the Premier in parliament last Thursday.

"All these businesses, our sporting clubs, everybody in the community wants to do the right thing and open when they can and so what they need to do to get through this recovery as quickly as possible," Mr Batt said at a press event today.

"It's difficult to do that when you're not sure what's in that plan.

"This road to recovery started on May 15 with the initial plan. A few days later, the plan comes out saying it starts at 11.59pm on May 15.

"It changes by a day. If people weren't aware of that, they could be getting themselves in trouble on day one when it's changed by a day from Friday to Saturday."

He said in the case of businesses safely reopening, size mattered.

"For a large sporting venue, a large hotel, why should they just be allowed to have 10 people in there when they can fit 50 or 100 in there under the same guidelines of four people per square metre?" he said.

Mr Batt said it wasn't clear why the official health advice dictated that the same number of people could be in a venue, whether it was 50 sqm or 5000 sqm.

"You can have the same 5000 sqm in a shopping centre when you can have 500 people walking around," he said.

"I'm not sure what that health advice is that she's giving or why she's giving that, but it would be great to find out what the difference is and why we can't change that."

Documents from the Queensland Health website provided to the NewsMail show the change in interpretation, with one set of instructions on May 16 allowing 10 people per court or sporting area, while an updated copy on May 18 changed the guideline to only 10 people for an entire premises.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday – Photo Steve Pohlner
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday – Photo Steve Pohlner

 

When Mr Batt raised the matter in parliament on Thursday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her understanding was the national cabinet and the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee wanted the 10-strict measure in place across the board for a month.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles provided further information later in the sitting.

"The directions have not changed since they were published," Mr Miles said.

"The questions and answers published on the Queensland Health website provide assistance in interpreting the directions.

"As we receive queries from the public the questions and answers are updated to make sure they are relevant.

"I am advised this is what occurred between the versions that the member referred to in his question."



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